Friday, October 8, 2010

On the Origin of Yarn

I find that knitters appreciate the process of making yarn, whether or not they also make their own. Here in the South we have two autumn events related to the origin of yarn. These are especially good events for spinners and animal lovers.

Coming up in a couple weeks on 22-24 October is the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair. This well-established annual event is at the WNC Agricultural Center in Fletcher, North Carolina (near Asheville). The class workshop schedule includes knitting classes as well as spinning, dyeing, crocheting, and felting. The market includes plenty of hand-dyed yarns from independent dyers as well as equipment and roving for spinning. There are live animals on site, including angora rabbits, sheep, mohair goats, llamas, and alpacas. I've even known people to buy a fleece while it is still being worn by the animal!

The second event is a newer one, but nevertheless quite welcome in the neighborhood. The Georgia Alpaca Association is holding the Royal Alpaca Challenge on 6 & 7 November at the International Horse Park in Conyers, Georgia. (This is where the equestrian events were held during the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games.) If you've never been to an alpaca show, this is a great opportunity to meet these sweet animals in person. Alpacas come in two basic varieties (suri and huacaya) and a myriad of natural shades of white, black, grey, and a lovely full range of browns from cappuccino to caramel to chocolate. In addition to a market where you can buy alpaca products, there is also a knitters' lounge for fiber demonstrations and a silent auction. And, of course, if you are looking to get into the alpaca business, this is a place to show, buy, and breed animals.

Both of these events are opportunities to learn more about the materials we love and to support the regional breeders who raise our favorite animal fibers.

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